Infantry Scouts Experiences

By Spc. Chris Stephens

When on the front lines with the infantry, there are two kinds of people – the quick and the dead.

But for infantry scouts, it’s a different story.

“We’re the ones the enemy aims for,” said Spc. Serrano Brooks, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Task Force 2-9, scout. “If they take us out, then we can’t relay their position or tell our headquarters how many Soldiers they have.”

Infantry scouts have the thrilling task of getting eyes on the enemy.

“We leave before the rest of the unit to go out and find the enemy,” Brooks said. “We should never be seen by the enemy and we don’t engage the enemy in direct contact.”

For Brooks and his team, the mission puts a lot of pressure of them.

“It’s a big weight on your shoulders,” said Pfc. Daniel Warner. “A team, squad, platoon, company or battalion could be affected by the decisions you make.”

The scouts use a a technique memorized as “SALUTE” to inform headquarters of what they see.

· Size – Number of troops and approximate size and type of unit.

· Activity – Observed activity of the enemy.

· Location – Position of enemy using map grid references.

· Unit – Identity of enemy unit or description of markings, uniforms, equipment.

· Time – Date-Time-Group of sighting.

· Equipment – Number and description of weapons or equipment.

“The SALUTE report is a guideline so we can give an exact report on enemy activity,” Brooks said.

For the most part, scouts carry the same equipment as non-scout Soldiers.

“We take the normal stuff a line Soldier would take,” Brooks said. “The only difference is that when we go out, the only contact we have with headquarters is through the radio. Other than that, we’re on our own; so it’s important to ensure we have all of our equipment.”

For the scouts, it doesn’t matter what the Korean weather is like, the mission still has to be completed.

“Rain, sleet, snow or a clear night, we have to do our job, so the rest of the unit can do theirs,” Brooks said.

Brooks said the best part of being a scout is the camaraderie he builds with the three other members of his team.

“We spend a lot of time together, so we get to know all about each other,” he said. “And that’s important, because you want to know the guy next to you is someone you can trust. And after spending enough time with them, I know they have my back, and they know I have theirs.”

When asked what the most important thing to remember while out on patrol, Brooks had an immediate response.

“Don’t be seen,” he said.